Saturday, February 16, 2019

Same As It Ever Was.....

Once In a Life Time by Talking Heads (another band with no "The" in its name)

Released in February of 1981, this is college rock at its weirdest. The song only reached #103 in the US but that was at a time when this type of music was very misunderstood.....for reasons you'll see shortly. Talking Heads were always a bit of a jam band and very experimental. For this song they jammed for hours and strung the best parts together into this song. Then lead singer David Byrne disappeared for two months and wrote these lyrics. I'm sure he didn't spend ALL of that time writing them because its not that complicated of a song. Indeed, "You may ask/find yourself...…" is not the Magna Carta but does it really take two months for that?

The video was co-directed by Toni Basil.....yes, the "Oh Mickey you're so fine" singer and is basically David...….dancing? around and recreating strange religious rituals. In fact, you may find yourself....doing the hand-chopping-the-arm motion as you watch this video and every time you hear this song because, lets face it, none of us knew what that was all about but its the iconic image from the video.

Sadly, this is the single edit of the song and doesn't include the breakdown portion of the song where David sings the immortal line, "there is the bottom of the ocean". Seriously???? Now what would make you think that's true?

Please watch the video....and you may ask God, what have I done???

Saturday, November 17, 2018

That DJ Is Clever

Celebration by Kool & The Gang

Released in 1980 (is that vague enough for you?) this song reached #1 and sold over 2 million copies but if you've ever been to a party or a wedding since it was released, you've heard this song....placing it among a small handful of songs everyone on the planet has heard...….over and over and over.

So lets listen to it one more time......and just remember....its a celebration!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It Could Save Your Life...Or End It.

Another One Bites The Dust by Queen

Released in 1980, this #1 song on the US charts has sold over 4 million copies but it could be used to save your life......or not.

The song was written by bassist, John Deacon, around a very simple but powerful bassline. In fact, it is so powerful that the British Heart Foundation has recommended that anyone performing CPR should sing this song as the bassline is nearly the perfect rhythm for restarting a human heart. 

But imagine if you just had a heart attack and, essentially, you're dead and you suddenly regain consciousness only to discover someone hovering over you saying "..dun..dun..dun..another one bites the dust...dun..dun..dun..another one bites the dust...and another one gone and another one gone...another one bites the dust....hey...gonna get you too..another one bites the dust!" You might scream and wonder if you've been attacked by a serial killer that likes to push on his victims chests.

Enjoy the song...but please sing this one to yourself when saving a life.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Who Ya Gonna Call?....Huey's Lawyers

Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Released in May of 1984, this theme song to the hugely popular film was about as simple a pop song as you could possibly imagine and ended up in court and made Huey Lewis a lot of money. Until it cost him a lot of money.

Ray Parker Jr. was approached to do the theme for the comedy film, Ghostbusters, after Lindsey Buckingham turned down the chance......and, apparently, after Huey Lewis was also approached. Ray only had about 3 days to write and record the song and he felt incredibly silly singing the word "Ghostbusters" so he got his girlfriend and her sisters to sing it for him. Listen closely....he doesn't say the word.

The song (and the film) was a huge hit and reached #1 in the US charts and stayed there for 3 weeks. It was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars that year but lost to Stevie Wonder's I Just Called To Say I Love You (why? I have no idea).

Right after the song was released, Huey Lewis sued Ray and Columbia Pictures because this song bears a striking resemblance to Huey's song I Want A New Drug and they settled for an undisclosed amount of money. The settlement was confidential.....until Huey mentioned it in a VH1, Behind The Music documentary and Ray sued Huey....and won. Easy come, easy go.

The video features clips from the film along with a ghost Ray haunting a young woman who lives in a creepy house that looks like its under a bridge and is just a bunch of neon windows inside. The word Ghostbuster is, again, not sung by Ray but by miscellaneous stars from the time of the films release, including: Chevy Chase, John Candy, Peter Falk and Terry Garr, among others.

To this day, anyone from the 80's, when asked, "Who ya gonna call?" will immediately say "GHOSTBUSTERS!!" Just don't tell anyone that Ray payed you and you'll be ok.

Please Enjoy....


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Long Live The Queen

I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) by Aretha Franklin and George Michael

She had been recording for over 25 years and she was the undisputed Queen of Soul but in the mid to late 70's her star had faded slightly as the musical landscape had shifted to rock. But the musicians of the 80's had grown up listening to this legend and were happy to see her star beginning to shine again. In 1985 she had released her first platinum album, Who's Zooming Who and she was back in the charts. 

And so her fans came calling....including a guy that had just had his first solo hit and wanted to prepare the world for his first solo album. George Michael called upon his musical hero to duet with him on this single that he never released it on any of his albums....he let her release it and it went to the #1 spot on the charts in 8 countries, including the UK and the US. It also won the Grammy for best R&B Performance.

The video shows how much George idolizes Aretha. It also shows how impressive she is as a singer. She blows the doors off the building when she lets loose. George makes every attempt to match her skills but not many could come close to the Queen's level. Still, its a special moment for someone that was obviously a fan, as George was.

Please enjoy...

Sunday, June 3, 2018

That Bono Is A Trouble Maker.

Where The Streets Have No Name by U2

Released in late August 1987, this was the third single from their monster breakthrough album, The Joshua Tree. It reached #13 on the US charts and is one of their signature live songs.

The song is based around a repeating, delayed guitar part that guitarist, The Edge, called the best guitar part he'd ever written. The song itself proved to be very difficult to record, so much so, that at one point the record producer arranged to "accidentally" erase the recordings so the band would have to start over. The studio engineer intervened and the band pressed on with the recordings. The band felt that they'd recorded a decent enough version of the song to include on the album but if you've ever seen U2 live, this is only about 20% of what this song can be.

The video was filmed in downtown Los Angeles in an area that isn't really the best venue for live music....on top of a liquor store on the corner of 7th and main St. The morning of the video shoot, several local DJ's had promoted the event and had made wild predictions about the size of the crowds, even reaching the ridiculous number of 30,000 people. As the time to begin filming approached, only about 1,000 people had arrived but even that number was enough to fill up all the sidewalks across the street from the liquor store. The police, fearful that huge crowds were only moments away from arriving, decided to shut down the filming......the band and the video crew started playing and filming anyway.

Unlike what is depicted in the video, the band was able to play eight songs (including 4 full versions of Where The Streets Have No Name) because the police allowed the filming to continue for fear that the crowd would turn into a mob if they didn't get to see something being filmed. Eventually, Bono encouraged the crowd to cross the street and block off traffic and that caused the police to cut the power.....except.....the band had anticipated that happening and had set up an emergency generator on the roof so they could continue playing. Bono had hoped to be arrested and pulled off the roof in handcuffs in a classic Rockstar moment but when an officer arrived on the roof, the band just walked back away from the edge and the filming ended.

One of my favorite parts of the video is the guitar that Edge uses.....

…....I have a copy of the same guitar in the exact same color. Mine will never sound as good as his and I'm still miles away from writing the best guitar part in my life. I'm not jealous....he's got real talent.

Please enjoy.....

Thursday, May 17, 2018

And This Is Why I Don't Go Hiking

The eruption of Mount St. Helens. May 18th, 1980

Located in Southern Washington state, Mount St. Helens is part of the Cascade Volcanic arc, a ring of mountains across the Pacific Northwest that contains nearly 20 active volcanos. Having been silent for almost 130 years, it was not considered to be much of a threat to the surrounding area. But all that changed in the early spring of 1980.

A series of earthquakes and steam venting had brought attention to the mountain and with it, fears that an eruption was eminent. Throughout the month of April, the north side of the mountain began to bulge and infrared photography indicated that lava was beginning to build in the throat of the volcano and that an eruption was possible. At one point, a blue flame of burning gases was seen in a crater near the summit!!

The State ordered evacuations and while most people complied, there were a few that insisted on staying, including Harry Truman (no, not the former President), owner of the Mount St. Helens lodge which stood on the shore of Spirit Lake at the base of the North side of the mountain. Also remaining in the area were several photographers and geologists.

On the morning of May 18th the unthinkable happened. At 8:32 AM an earthquake occurred just below the surface of the North face of the mountain causing the entire face to slide. The resulting landslide was the largest in recorded history. Traveling at 125 miles per hour, it temporarily displaced the water in Spirit lake and caused a 600 foot tall wave of water to crash into the north shore of the lake.

While that was happening, the magma inside the volcano was exposed to much lower pressure and a series of explosions occurred as super-heated gases, ash, pumice and rock were directed up and out of the landslide, following it down the face of the mountain. Commonly referred to as pyroclastic flows, they reached nearly 670 miles per hour and destroyed everything in their path. The sure-heated flow caused the water in Spirit lake to instantly flash into steam and cause a secondary explosion that was heard as far away as northern California.

Trees in the path were flattened. Here's a picture of what had been a rather majestic forest only a few days before...

Approximately 57 people were killed, including Harry Truman and the others that stayed on the mountain to record what happened. To this day, the mountain continues to vent steam and ash. It still has a large lava dome inside its crater and could erupt again.

Here's a picture of the mountain the day before the eruption...

And here's a picture from the same location after the eruption....

That's nearly 1,300 feet shorter in less than 2 minutes with a 2,100 feet deep crater left behind.
And here's a video of the actual eruption put together from still photos of it as it occurred...

Don't mess with Mother Nature.....she's bigger and tougher than you and she'll blow off the entire side of a mountain to prove it.